Refuse Authority’s 2013-14 budget mirrors previous year

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published June 19, 2013

GROSSE POINTE PARK — If the 2013-14 budget for the Grosse Pointes-Clinton Refuse Disposal Authority seems familiar, that’s because it is.

The $1,512,911 budget — which was unanimously approved by the GPCRDA Board during a meeting June 11 at Patterson Park in Grosse Pointe Park — is almost identical to the one approved for the 2012-13 fiscal year, said GPCRDA CPA Lynn Gustafson. The $1 per ton administration fee remains unchanged.

The budget includes using $82,301 of fund balance to cover expenses in the new fiscal year, which starts July 1.

The board also approved an amended 2012-13 budget, which reflects a property survey and new fence around the GPCRDA’s former incinerator parcel in Clinton Township. The GPCRDA had to use $112,301 in fund balance this year, an increase of $35,364 over what had been budgeted originally.

“The big adjustment is (due to) our property (work),” Gustafson said.

But that wasn’t the only reason for the draw on fund balance.

“In addition, we had some slight increases in legal (expenses),” Gustafson said.

By the end of the current fiscal year, legal costs are slated to be up $2,500 more than what was budgeted.

Aside from those changes, officials say the GPCRDA remains on track financially.

“I think we are right on target,” GPCRDA board Chair Brett Smith said of the budget. “(Gustafson) has led us through with a keen hand.”

Although it doesn’t impact the GPCRDA budget, a recent change is helping several of its member cities save money. The five Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods are now saving on their per-ton waste disposal costs, thanks to an opportunity to take their trash to a Waste Management incinerator, Detroit Renewable Power. They had been hauling trash to a City Disposal transfer station, but since early May, Smith said they’ve been saving $5 per ton by dropping it off at the incinerator — located next to the transfer station.

Gustafson said that change means that all of the cities are now paying $21.28 per ton for waste disposal. Clinton Township and Mount Clemens had already been paying that rate because they have long taken their trash to Pine Tree Acres, a landfill in Lenox Township, but for the Wayne County GPCRDA members, that location was too far away.

In Grosse Pointe Shores alone — the smallest of the GPCRDA communities — the new rate should translate into a savings of about $5,000 in the 2013-14 fiscal year, Smith said.

Because the incinerator is next door to the transfer station, he said the transition has been fairly smooth, with a few exceptions.

“We’re having our little hiccups, but we’re working on them,” Smith said.